The Korean singer in question is Lee Jong-hyun, who is in the rock band CNBlue.
Who is Lee Jong-hyun?
Lee Jong-hyun was the guitarist and vocalist of a Korean band CNBlue. As for why the word “was” and not “is” is used, you’ll see.
CNBlue debuted in Japan, during 2009, as an indie band. At that point, Lee Jong-hyun was actually their leader, so you can see that he is probably quite prominent as a member of the band.
When CNBlue later made their Korean debut in 2010, Jung Yong-hwa would take his place as the leader.
Either way, the band later became pretty successful. And by that, I mean they have a separate Wikipedia page just for the list of awards and nominations alone, for a total number of 42 awards and 101 nominations.
So yeah, pretty big band and celebrity.
But here’s some controversy about Lee Jong-hyun:
In 2016, he was accused of insider trading of stocks, and after investigations, he was fined 20 million won (~S$22,912).
And in March 2019, there’s this little scandal called the Burning Sun Scandal. By little, I mean it’s the largest scandal to hit the K-pop industry, involving sex crimes, distribution of unconsented sex videos taken of women, and even involved political parties and a response from the god damn President.
I can’t even summarise the case for you cause just based on Wikipedia, the scandal’s page is longer than the Hong Kong protests’.
Lee Jong-hyun is involved in the scandal, having participated in a one-to-one chat room with Jung Joon-young, who is one of the participants with a larger involvement in the scandal. In the chat room, Lee Jong-hyun watched the videos sent by Jung Joon-young and subsequently had inappropriate conversations about the women in the videos.
Now that you have all the context, let’s move on to the titular DMs in question and see what sleaziness lies in it.
“Your belly fat is so cute”
DMs in question were sent over Instagram to YouTuber Park Min Jung over Instagram. The Youtuber uploaded the conversation over her own Instagram story.
Messages seem to be sent from Lee Jong-hyun’s now deleted Instagram account @cnbluegt, so the YouTuber added the caption “Huh? Is this really CNBlue?”
As for the messages sent by Lee Jong-hyun, the first one says “I really enjoy watching your YouTube, please continue to upload fun videos.”
This is then followed by “Your belly fat is so cute”.
When I first read the message, I thought it was just bad flirting. I mean Korean musicians expose their bellies all the time, so unless all Korean music videos are supposed to be porn, this seemed harmless without context.
A little research into sexualised bellies shows that actually, the trend of showing bellies is a pretty recent one and in the 1990s stars aren’t allowed to show bellies.
But now that you know Lee Jong-hyun was involved in the controversies before and during the cultural connotations, suddenly the messages might have a slightly different meaning.
I’m guessing saying “your belly fat is so cute” is kind of like saying “your side boob looks cute”.
Lee Jong-hyun leaves CNBlue
After the DM got exposed, he just left the band, and his agency FNC Entertainment posted the following message:
Hello. This is Lee Jong Hyun.
I once again apologize to the people I’ve hurt through my inappropriate words and actions and to all the people that I’ve greatly disappointed.
Also although it’s late, I am informing you that I’m withdrawing from CNBLUE. I feel sorry that I have caused harm for the members, and I have told the members as well that I am withdrawing. I am ashamed to have disappointed the fans who believed in me.
Since all of us including me are currently doing our military service, it took a while to convey opinions and announce this. I feel sorry and grateful to our company who waited.
I feel great regret over my wrongdoing and I am willing to accept criticism from many people. I’m sorry for evoking criticism over a shameful matter.
Oh, wells. Another day, another Korean star’s scandal.
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